Is there a way to prevent mass shootings? No, they cannot be prevented entirely. However, they can be reduced, and the impact of any one shooting can be diminished. I believe the U.S. should consider the following:
Require gun manufacturers to design guns that cannot be altered to become "automatic." Automatic weapons are basically machine guns; a person holds the trigger, and bullets come flying out. A semi-automatic weapon only fires a single bullet with each pull of the trigger, but these guns can be altered to act like automatic weapons. Gun manufacturers should be required to assemble guns that are unable to undergo such a modification.A national gun buy-back program. The one thing criminals like more than guns is money (and sex). While the government can't offer them the latter, they can offer them the former. In New Jersey (where else?), one person turned in a rocket launcher, and others turned in over 700 illegal weapons, such as sawed-off shotguns.Universal background checks. Great freedom requires great responsibility. Anyone who wants to purchase a weapon should submit to a universal background check.Mandatory firearm training. In addition to universal background checks, any person who wants to purchase a gun should be required to take a class on how and when to use it.
Involuntary institutionalization. Until 1955, when the U.S. began the process of deinstitutionalization, it was normal for people who were mentally ill to be involuntarily committed. The advent of effective psychiatric medications, plus the horrifying conditions in which some patients lived, resulted in the nation phasing out these asylums. Unfortunately, today, there is very little society does for people who are unwilling or unable to care for themselves. We are extremely hesitant to force treatment on people who don't want it. But this policy is no longer sustainable when some mass shootings are perpetrated by severely mentally ill people. The 2011 shooting in Tucson, for instance, we perpetrated by a person with paranoid schizophrenia.Stop naming the culprits. For whatever reason, some mass shooters want to leave Earth in (what they imagine to be) a blaze of glory. Without fail, their full names (middle names, too!) become known globally. They get non-stop, 24-hour news coverage and Wikipedia bios. If the media stopped naming the culprit, it would eliminate the incentive of notoriety that likely serves as a partial motivation for mass shootings. The Hebrew language has a curse for these people: Yimakh shemo. "May his name be obliterated." The proper response to a mass shooter is to wipe his name from our memory. Certainly, it is unlikely these proposals would have mattered in the recent Las Vegas massacre. The perpetrator had no known political or religious affiliation, and he had no history of crime or mental illness. He may have had a compulsive gambling problem, but as yet, there appears to be no reason for him to have been on the radar of law enforcement.Determining a motive, therefore, will be an important part of the investigators' mission. However, once that has been established, may his name be obliterated.